Mario Tama/Getty Images
In another blow to voter and racial suppression, a federal court just stuck down North Carolina’s racially designated gerrymandering ploy just weeks after the federal courts stuck down their racist voter ID law.
In the case, Covington v. North Carolina, the three judge panel in the Middle District ruled that North Carolina lawmakers (who have a supermajority in both state chambers) unconstitutionally used race as a key factor when redrawing the legislative districts for the state House and state Senate members in 2011.
However, because the decision was delivered late into the election season, the ruling will not take effect until the start of the new session in 2017, meaning voters will head to the voting booths in November under the jurisdiction of unconstitutional districts that do not accurately represent the voters in the state.
We regrettably conclude that due to the mechanics of state and federal election requirements, there is insufficient time, at this late date, for: the General Assembly to draw and enact remedial districts; this Court to review the remedial plan; the state to hold candidate filing and primaries for the remedial districts; absentee ballots to be generated as required by statute; and for general elections to still take place as scheduled in November 2016.
Not only does the decision affect the state legislature districts, but also congressional districts. Even though Mitt Romney won North Carolina by less than two percent against President Obama in 2012, of the 13 congressional districts, Democrats only won three.
In 2010, even with the Republican takeover in Congress, and a year before the new districts were drawn, seven Democrats won and six Republicans won.
I wonder what changed.
Republicans’ attempt to block blacks and minorities from voting and having adequate representation has suffered another blowback from the courts. No wonder Republicans are so hostile to the judiciary – they keep blocking their suppression of the electorate.
The court found:
There are 120 state House districts and 50 state Senate districts. The court found that 28 of those districts were illegal racial gerrymanders.